In India, New Opportunities for Women Draw Anger and Abuse From Men

– Come on, India.   You are rapidly improving yourself in so many ways, and yet you have such ugly things locked away in your closets.   For all your Bollywood and your high tech campuses, so very much of what happens out in your streets is utterly grim.

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Every morning, Gitanjali Chaudhry, 17, walks to her high school through a labyrinth of temples and vegetable markets. Along with her books, she carries an Indian version of Mace — a bag of chili powder and a pouch of safety pins — to fend off the often boorish men who loiter in the narrow passageways.

“We learned that women have to be brave,” said Chaudhry, a loquacious, ponytailed girl who wants to be a lawyer. She has started attending increasingly popular neighborhood classes on self-defense for women.

Chaudhry is one of the brightest students in her working-class district. But since several local men started following her to class, she sometimes stays home now. She has friends who have been raped or are constant victims of “Eve teasing,” when men on the street spew lewd comments or aggressively paw women’s bodies.



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